Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

There’s almost nothing else that shows the passage of time more than going back to the place you once lived. The old haunts you once went to — still there, but different. The new places that have shot up like weeds in spaces that you didn’t realize existed, or spaces that formerly housed a favorite place. The wonderful thing is that nature changes slowly, at least in Southern California, so there is always the beach and the ocean. That, will always feel familiar.

Last November, I packed my bags and jetted down to my old place of residence, San Diego, for a week to shoot a wedding, and in the process decided to visit some old and new places while I was there. Catching up with old friends, usually over a hearty meal or a drink, enjoying company, and lots of sun. Because of the nature of the trip, this is by no means a comprehensive guide, but more of an outline of some of my favorite places, and places I went to for the first time.

I also added photos from a previous trip as well, taken on film, to round out the entire post as well. :)

From Sacramento, it’s only a 1.5 hour flight into San Diego, from gate to gate. You know you’ve entered Southern California once the mountains surrounding the Grapevine would come into view. Not long after you’ll see LA, and then San Diego. When you land, keep an eye out for Balboa Park and the Spanish style architecture in the park zooming by!

The area I stayed in was close to North Park (which is north of Balboa Park and not far from downtown), so I made many trips into the neighborhood and surrounding areas while I was there. One place that I finally got to check out in person after following them on IG for years was Aloha Beach Club. That rug/wall hanging has been on my wish list for years now.

After perusing the shop, I got the chance to check out City Taco (yum), which I have never been to before now. When going to a new place, and I have a hard time deciding what to eat, I usually ask what’s the most popular dishes and go from there. Their menu has since changed, but I believe I had the Chorizo, Especial (shrimp), and Puerco Agridulce (pork tenderloin). They were all amazing but I think my favorite went to the Especial!

Park House Eatery, a charming house-turned restaurant, where I got the chance to catch up with my dear friend Jasmine (who took the photos of me). Chilling on their patio, with an egg omlet and bloody mary? Perf.

Another place that filled the tummy and was so fun to boot? Neighborhood, which is located in Downtown San Diego. I’m pretty sure I had my first sour beer here (The Dutchess of course), and it was love at first sip. The best part about it? It has a speakeasy!

Not far from Neighborhood is another favorite too, Cafe Chloe, which has all the French charm. Their affogato is just yum.

Another favorite that I love is Polite Provisions with Soda & Swine connected next door.

Grab a bite at Soda & Swine, and head over next door to Polite Provisions to enjoy the charming decor and excellent cocktails. It looks completely old, but they redesigned this from the ground up, which is totally impressive!

And if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like getting the vibe of a town by hanging out at coffee shops (plus you can get some work done). Plus points if it’s super pretty to sit and sip a coffee in!

Two that I visited in the North Park area – Coffee & Tea Collective (another place I’ve been following forever on IG) and Holsem Coffee. My favorite? C&T wins with coffee & simplicity of decor (and the fact that I got to spend time with an old friend there too, and her freaking adorable son)! Although Holsem, shown below, was gorgeous in its own right. Those gold pendants and marble detail just get to me!

Holsem above, and C&T below

We can’t have a mini guide and leave out shopping, and my most favorite shop of all, Pigment. I pretty much make it a point to stop here when visiting San Diego now. There is no end to the cute and style and air plants at this place, and I could pretty much just live here. I didn’t take many photos of the inside, but I could pretty much buy the entire place!

Another store that caught my heart was m a v e n, located in South Park. Minimalist design for the win.

Verbatim Books was also a really cute stop to peruse in as well! Book shops always get to me. I loved all the possibilities and worlds that you could dive into with a book.

After soaking up all the urban cool of the North Park area, spending time in the sleepy, beach town of Encinitas was next up for me. This area certainly had the most special place in my heart, seeing as this is where we resided for 5 years of our 10 year San Diego stint. About a 20-30 min drive from North Park, Encinitas houses a charming downtown sign (almost all San Diego County neighborhoods/towns have one), nestled next to La Paloma, one of the oldest theaters and the first in the West Coast to have the “talkies” as it was called back then!

After soaking up a bit of sun in the neighborhood, hitting up Raul‘s and their carne asada burritos while catching up with a friend was first on my list. It’s also a super short walk to the beach, so you could easily grab a burrito for a beach picnic!

Another local favorite haunt, one we used to go to pretty much everyday, was Lofty Coffee. Oh, I miss their long blacks! The funny thing about Lofty is that there are two locations, directly across from each other on the 101. I remember before Lofty showed up, I thought that Encinitas was missing a *good* coffee place. And I knew it would be a huge hit once one popped up. (I would have totally done it myself, but I know zilch about roasting coffee! lol). Enter Lofty, and they became so successful that they opened the second location and roastery across the street. They both totally have different vibes too. The original Lofty is smaller, more intimate and bustling, with more food options, and the roastery is far more chill, more open, and a good place to survey Encinitas from above.

After grabbing some coffee, I headed to the beach and watched the sunset at our old local beach, Stone Steps. We formerly lived two blocks from this beach and I miss it dearly! Although Moonlight Beach is not very far away and is also a worthy visit if you’re in the area, and don’t feel like walking up and down 100ft of stairs. (lol)

Rounding out the day was a must visit to Fish 101, which to me, is where the best cheap fish tacos and oysters in the area reside – especially during happy hour, which is $2.75 for a taco, and $1 for an oyster. Add $5 for a wine on tap or brown bag beer (or $4 Dos Equis) and you’ve got yourself a happy stomach.

If you’re one for surfing, and you want to go somewhere less crowded than Swamis, check out the other beaches along the Encinitas coast, like Moonlight, Grandview, D Street and Beacon’s (shown below).

Video included from Beacon’s!

Other places to stop in Encinitas that I didn’t get a chance to visit to this time around:

Pannikin Coffee & Tea is amazing if you love old world charm – this place is located in the old yellow train station, and is so cute! Their food and teas are great, but I would recommend going somewhere else if you’re hankering for coffee.

Priority Public House – good food, good craft cocktails, super instagrammable (that’s totally a word!)

Lou’s Records for all your new and used vinyl & cd’s needs.

Swami’s Cafe for your authentic beach food experience. Acai bowls a plenty here! After grabbing a bite to eat, be sure to walk across the street to Swami’s Beach, one of the most renowned surf spots in the world, to check out all the little people sitting in the ocean, trying to catch a wave.

Self Realization Center Gardens is a beautiful stroll on the cliff overlooking the water. Formerly the home (I think?) of the guy who popularized yoga in the US, quite a peaceful and beautiful spot to spend an hour in.

It’s no Pigment, but if you’re looking for some design-forward shopping, Grounded is your place to go! I could lounge around their mid-century replications all day.

Have some time and want to get your asana on? Yoga Bergamot was my favorite place to practice (the space it inhabits is amazzzing). Apparently they’re about to move, but I’m sure it’ll still be amazing because the instructors are so great!

If you get the chance, make your way down south a bit to Cardiff, where The Cardiff Kook resides, and is always donning a new attire! If you stop by anywhere, give Seaside Market a try for their Cardiff Crack (aka Burgandy Beef) sandwich! Mmm so good! Other favorite spots in the Cardiff area are VG Donuts and the Rancho Coastal Humane Society Thrift Shop. They’re in the same shopping center, so after an hour or two of thrifting (and I always find such good gems at this spot), I always grabbed a donut. They not only baked them fresh in the morning, but in the afternoon as well – 3-4pm was a sweet spot for freshly baked goodies! Also, just the drive down from downtown Encinitas to Cardiff is worth it I think, to see the ocean whipping by on your right. Classic So Cal.

So I think it’s about time to hop into the car or plane and head on over to San Diego, don’t you think?


Sacramento, California

The dreaminess. The pure dreaminess though.

These two celebrated their one year anniversary this week, so I thought it would apropo to share images from a post-wedding session we did together. I whipped up a flower crown & a bouquet, and we froliced in nature while taking photos all the while. :)

I still love doing post wedding sessions (several years ago, it was a “thing” to do what was called “trash the dress” sessions. Dresses weren’t really trashed, if anything, they actually came out cleaner, especially if they went into the water!), because it’s a really fun way to get unique & fun photos without the constraints of the wedding timeline (which can often be super tight and/or stressful). We can have more of a leisurely time getting some creative images in your wedding attire, and I mean, who doesn’t want to get dressed up again for fun? I know I totally would!

Anneberg Community Beach House
Santa Monica, California 

Amidst the warm glow of the Santa Monica sunset, Emily and Carl were married. This wedding was different than others that I had shot, for several reasons. First, Emily is a dear dear friend of mine. I’ve known her since we were elementary school youngins, and pretty much grew up together in church. We reconnected after college, and she even worked for me for a short time, helping with the business. She was priceless to me back then, I owe so much of how smoothly my business went thanks to her those years. We still keep in touch, and I still consider her one of my favorite people.

Secondly, this wedding was shot pretty much entirely on film on my end. Emily had requested it and I was happy to oblige. I whipped out the digital for a few dancing shots (like the last three photos), but for the most part, I had my handy Mamiya 645 & Hasselblad 500c/m for everything. This was a first for me, and largely something I was able to do, because the amazing Jasmine of Let’s Frolic Together was the main photographer, and covered all the essentials.

All in all, I am so happy that I got a chance to give this lovely gift to Emily & Carl, & do something I’ve been wanting to do for some time, which is shoot an entire wedding on film. I’m glad I got a chance to dip my foot in the water a little deeper!


To New Adventures.

About 10 years ago I was a fresh-out-of-college-graduate, living in Sacramento with my parents. I had dreams of starting a photography business, and I had dreams of starting it in San Diego where Zach had moved down t0 only months before. I knew I could make it work, so only after a few months of being out of college, I immediately set off to Southern California; with big dreams and big hopes.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve built my business from the ground up. Building my client base, working with some amazing people, and honing my craft. Living in the San Diego area (specifically Encinitas where we ended up settling) has be wonderful, and such a treat. There really is nothing like being able to walk to the ocean everyday. San Diego/Encinitas became the place where I grew into myself as a person, and the place where I began listening to my voice, and trusting my gut. The place where I found my wings as an artist and a person, and where I started to fly.

The place where the adventures began.

But even though San Diego created so many wonderful things for me (and us), it was missing something else – namely family, and the community of people we grew up with. And the trees. Man, I missed the abundance of trees up there.

So, after many hours, days & weeks of going back and forth, we came to the decision to start the next chapter in our adventure, and move back up to Northern California, specifically Sacramento where we were raised. Where our family is, and where Zach can fulfill his own dream of finishing his degree.

While I will be living in and based out of Sacramento starting January 2015, I will be serving both Sacramento & the San Francisco Bay Area for weddings, photo sessions & other photography services.  

We are sad to be leaving the relationships & life we’ve built down here, but we know that this next step in our lives is the right one. We will be closer to family, be able to accomplish more life goals, and I will be able to work with my Northern California client base to build my business and my art further.

So, farewell San Diego. Here’s to new adventures!


If you’re in Sacramento or the Bay Area and are interested in inquiring or booking for a wedding or session, please email me, I would love to hear from you! I will be offering booking specials for the first few months of 2015, drop me an email to hear more!

In addition, I would love to collaborate with fellow creatives on shoots, so if you’re interested in getting some photos of something unique & creative, or have some great ideas and want to potentially get it captured, I would love to hear from you too!


bride groom kiss tunnel

sonoma, california

It was 14 years ago that I first met Jennie. We were both bloggers at the time, and I remember one day stumbling upon her site, reading her blog and thinking “OMG, this girl writes exactly like me!” I had to reach out to her, and we soon become good friends (even calling each other ‘soulmate’ since we were so similar in many ways) and kept in touch online. After I became a wedding photographer, Jennie used to always say to me “I want you to shoot my wedding when I get married!” I always think it’s an honor when people I’ve known for so long have chosen me to visually document the moments on such an important day for them, so I was thrilled when that day finally came for Jennie.

I knew the wedding was going to be visually stunning, as both Jennie and Herman are graphic designers, and the attention to detail would be impeccable. From the custom stationery (it helps that Jennie works at Wedding Paper Divas), to Herman’s suit and the groomsmen tie clips (which are initialed), to Jennie’s dress details and hairpiece (which was created by her mother), to the banners, her temporary “love” tattoo on her arm (I love the idea so much I might do it myself when I get married!), the drinks, the decor, the calligraphy (which Jennie practiced tirelessly to perfect) and so much more. Alicia K Designs coordinated the event which seamlessly helped pull it all together; the day went beautifully.

And to capture all this loveliness, we shot this on a hybrid of film & digital, mixing the two together and coming away with some stunning results!

Not only did the event look stunning, but there were some really wonderful moments as well, which is probably my most favorite thing about weddings. Emotions run high on a day like this, and that goes perfectly with who I am as a photographer, which is someone who captures emotions. There were so many beautiful moments during this day, like when Herman read Jennie’s card (and how Jennie tricked him into thinking that she got him a stuffed dog for his gift, but it was really something awesome for his car), when Jennie exclaimed that Herman wrote the exact same words in his card to her that she wrote in her own vows (and he got her Louboutins – to the jealously of all the girls in the room!), when Jennie was waiting to go down the aisle (and was doing breathing exercises to keep calm), all the tears during the ceremony (and when Herman passed off his handkerchief to Jennie — which I totally found endearing and real), when Herman kissed Jennie’s hand on the way out of the ceremony (a total JFK Jr & Carolyn Bissette moment), the stunning sunset (and all the mosquitos that ate us), and the fun barn reception — to name a few.

The wedding was emotional for me too, as this was for a special friend, whom I’ve known for a very long time. The moment she appeared to walk down the aisle, I remember feeling a lump in my throat, and my eyes get watery, as I saw someone I’ve known for the last 14 years get married to the man she’s loved for a very long time. I was so happy for her, and so happy to be a part of it.

Herman and Jennie are two of the sweetest and kindest people I know – not only to others around them, but most importantly to each other. They are tender together, and their loves is – in many ways – filled with beauty and magic. Jennie and I may have called each other ‘soulmates’, but Herman is her true soulmate, and I couldn’t be happier for her & him.

bride groom vows

bride gown bridesmaid dresses details

bridal details

bride getting ready

bride louboutin

bride getting ready

bride getting ready

first look

tunnel bride groom couple love

Venue – Cornerstone Sonoma / Associate Photographer - Don Doblados / Wedding Coordination – Alicia K Designs / Florist – Alicia K Designs / Invitations – Wedding Paper Divas / Cake – Sweet on Cake / Caterer – Sage Catering / Videographer – Motionscope Weddings / Hair & Makeup – LilyAnn Nguyen / Bride’s Gown – Augusta Jones – Lucille / Bride’s Shoes – Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Sash – Haute Bride / Bride’s Veil & Hair Flower – DIY by bride’s mother / Bridesmaid dresses – Etsy / Groom’s Attire – Hugo Boss / DJ – DJ JTrix / Officiant – Rev Joe Indano

A few days ago, I was going through the archives of my blog, looking over old posts, and reading old things I wrote. I was a much different blogger then than I am now, and it made me wonder, why? What changed? Why did I stop sharing so much? In all honesty, I think that is one of my favorite things about photography — sharing the way I se the world. I love sharing with people how I see life, and how I want to live it. The things that inspire me, that make my jaw drop, the tidal wave of emotions that is the human experience. That is what art is all about, right? A way to express emotion, when simple direct words fail you.

Adventure has always been something I highly value. The ability to explore new places, and to experience that magical feeling of awe — is one of my favorite things in the world. This past summer, Zach and I, along with some of our friends, took off for the Eastern Sierras on a camping trip with the goal to hike Mount Dana. This would be my first mountain summit, and it was quite the experience. I caught my first fish, and we got chased off the summit of the mountain by a sudden thunderstorm! We camped at Tioga Lake, which was always a dream of mine – to camp right next to a lake in the grass, and we canoed, fished, and enjoyed the beautiful Sierras. During our stay there, we also visited Mammoth Mountain and surrounding areas, hiking to Rainbow Falls, stopping at random places by the side of the road (like abandoned homes that overlook the mountains) and Alabama Hills, which was HOT, but beautiful.

In addition, you will also noticed more photos of me! That’s because Zach had taken a photography class this past year, and shot alongside me during this entire trip, which was awesome. :) He made some really wonderful images — like the one above, which was just before sunrise on the way to Tioga Lake (to which I was passed out in the car at the time).

All in all, a wonderful adventure, filled with good memories, and new experiences!